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Latest CBI quarterly posts optimistic outlook for Financial services industry

The Financial services industry could be heading for a broad-based recovery, if the level of optimism advocated within the latest CBI / PwC quarterly provides a suitable benchmark for the state of the sector.

Optimism (for the state of the business situation) among industry professionals has risen to a balance of plus 37%, a sharp increase from the previous survey's plus eight per cent, and is the highest since June 1999.

John Hitchins, UK banking leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, explains: "This latest survey shows an encouraging rise in both confidence and business volumes, and all the sectors most closely exposed to the stock market have reported a growth in business with private individuals. The return of private investors to the market is an important signal of recovery."

Ian McCafferty, CBI Chief Economist, concurs: "A second successive healthy survey suggests the recovery in financial services is taking hold and the industry is going into winter this year much more optimistically than it did in 2002. That reflects the continuing stock market recovery and the improved outlook for the global economy. The first expected increase in financial services employment for more than two years and the end of the downward slide in expected IT investment are further indications that a real turnaround is underway."

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